BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SCA 3
          Author:   Lowenthal (D) and Ashburn (R), et al
          Amended:  3/22/06
          Vote:     27

           
           SENATE ELECTIONS, REAP. & CONST. AMEND. COM  :  4-1, 6/29/05
          AYES:  Bowen, Dunn, Murray, Romero
          NOES:  Battin
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Poochigian

           SENATE ELECTIONS, REAP. & CONST. AMEND. COM  :  3-1, 3/15/06
          AYES:  Bowen, Murray, Romero
          NOES:  Battin
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Poochigian

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  9-3, 5/25/06
          AYES:  Murray, Alarcon, Alquist, Ashburn, Escutia, Florez,  
            Ortiz, Romero, Torlakson
          NOES:  Aanestad, Battin, Poochigian
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Dutton


           SUBJECT  :    Elections:  redistricting

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This Constitutional Amendment provides for 11  
          member Independent Redistricting Commission to reapportion  
          legislative and congressional districts, requires that each  
          of the 40 Senate districts be divided into two Assembly  
          districts (nesting), and grants the California Supreme  
                                                           CONTINUED





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          Court original and exclusive jurisdiction over all  
          challenges to a redistricting plan adopted by the  
          Commission.

           ANALYSIS  :    Current law provides that in the year  
          following the year in which the federal decennial census is  
          taken, the Legislature shall adjust the boundary lines of  
          the Senate, Assembly, congressional, and Board of  
          Equalization districts in conformance with the following  
          standards:

          1.Each member of the Senate, Assembly, Congress, and the  
            Board of Equalization shall be elected from a  
            single-member district.

          2.The population of all districts of a particular type  
            shall be reasonably equal.

          3.Every district shall be contiguous.

          4.Districts of each type shall be numbered consecutively  
            commencing at the northern boundary of the State and  
            ending at the southern boundary.

          5.The geographical integrity of any city, county, or city  
            and county, or of any geographical region shall be  
            respected to the extent possible without violating the  
            requirements of any other subdivision of this section.

          In 1926, the people passed the so-called Federal Plan of  
          Reapportionment which divided the State into 40 Senatorial  
          districts based upon counties and 80 Assembly districts as  
          equal in population as possible.  Under this initiative a  
          reapportionment commission was created composed of the  
          Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Surveyor General,  
          Secretary of State, and State Superintendent of Public  
          Instruction.  In 1942, the Surveyor General was replaced by  
          the Controller on the Commission.  In 1964 in the court  
          case  Reynolds v. Sims  , the United States Supreme Court  
          declared the federal plans unconstitutional.  The  
          Commission tried to reapportion districts after the  
          Legislature failed in 1971.  In 1972, the state Supreme  
          Court in  Reinecke v. the Legislature  declared the  
          reapportionment Commission unconstitutional.  The court  







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          indicated the Commission could only reapportion move  
          districts based on the federal plan.  Because the federal  
          plan was unconstitutional, so was the Commission.

          This Constitutional Amendment provides for the appointment  
          of a 11 member Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC)  
          which would establish congressional, Assembly, Senate, and  
          State Board of Equalization districts by February 28 of  
          each year ending in the number one, as follows:

           IRC Eligibility
           
          - No more than four members of the IRC may be members of  
            the same political party and no two or more may reside in  
            the same county. 

          - Each member must be continuously registered with the same  
            political party, or registered as unaffiliated with a  
            political party, for three or more years immediately  
            preceding appointment.

          - Within the three years immediately preceding appointment,  
            a member may not have been appointed to, elected to, or  
            have been a candidate for any public office, and may not  
            have served as an officer of a political party, or served  
            as a registered paid lobbyist or as an officer of a  
            candidate's campaign committee.  

          - Legislative and congressional staff and consultants,  
            contractors to the Legislature, and any person with a  
            financial or family relationship with the Governor, a  
            Member of the Legislature, a Member of Congress, or a  
            member of the State Board of Equalization, are not  
            eligible to serve as members of the IRC. 

          - During their terms, and for three years thereafter, IRC  
            members shall be ineligible for public office in this  
            State or for registration as a paid lobbyist.

           IRC Appointments
           
          - No later than January 8 of each year ending in the number  
            one, a panel of 10 retired judges of the Court of Appeal  
            (who will be appointed by the Judicial Council) must  







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            establish a pool of 25 qualified persons who are willing  
            to serve on the IRC with 10 nominees from each of the two  
            largest political parties and five who are not registered  
            with either of the two largest political parties.  

          - The panel of retired judges must make every effort to  
            ensure that the pool of candidates is representative of  
            both genders and California's racial, ethnic, and  
            cultural diversity.

          - No later than January 31 of the same year, two  
            appointments to the IRC from the pool of 25 nominees must  
            be made in this order by each of the following officials:  
            the Speaker of the Assembly, the Assembly minority  
            leader, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, and the  
            Senate minority leader.  Each official shall have a  
            seven-day period in which to make an appointment.

          - If the eight members fail to appoint one or more of the  
            three additional members within 15 days of the above  
            meeting, the panel of retired judges shall appoint from  
            the nomination pool, those positions remaining unfilled,  
            the additional members who are not registered with any  
            party already represented on the commission.  One of the  
            three additional members appointed by the IRC, as  
            selected by majority vote of the eight members appointed  
            by the subdivision shall serve as the chair of the  
            commission.

          - The term of office of each member of the IRC expires upon  
            the appointment of the first member of the succeeding  
            IRC.  The IRC may not meet or incur expenses after the  
            redistricting plan becomes final except with respect to  
            any pending litigation or as otherwise specified.

           IRC Proceedings
           
          - Six members of the IRC, one of whom is the chairperson or  
            vice chairperson, would constitute a quorum and six or  
            more affirmative votes would be required for any official  
            action. 

          - The IRC could only conduct business in meetings open to  
            the public and noticed at least 14 days in advance.







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          - With specified exceptions, the records of the IRC  
            pertaining to redistricting, and all relevant data would  
            be open to inspection.  Ex-parte communications with  
            members would be prohibited.

          - The IRC would be required to display a draft map of  
            congressional, Assembly, Senate, and State Board of  
            Equalization districts to the public for comment for at  
            least 30 days.  The Assembly or the Senate, or both, may  
            act within this period to make recommendations to the  
            Commission by majority or by minority report, which must  
            be considered by the IRC.  The Commission would then  
            establish final boundaries for these districts and  
            certify them to the Secretary of State.

          - The Legislature would be required, by majority vote, to  
            make the necessary appropriation adequate to meet the  
            IRC's estimated expenses.  The IRC would have procurement  
            and contracting authority and may hire staff and  
            consultants, exempt from civil service, including legal  
            representation.  

          - The Supreme Court will have original and exclusive  
            jurisdiction in all proceedings in which a plan adopted  
            by the IRC is challenged.

           Redistricting Criteria
           
          Each member of the Senate, Assembly, Congress, and the  
          State Board of Equalization would continue to be elected  
          from single-member districts.  The territory of each Senate  
          district must be divided into two Assembly districts.  

          Party registration and voting history data must be excluded  
          from the initial phase of the mapping process but may be  
          used to test maps for compliance with other specified  
          goals.  The places of residence of incumbents or candidates  
          may not be identified or considered.

          The IRC would initially create districts of equal  
          population in a grid-like pattern across the state then  
          adjust the grid as necessary to accommodate each of the  
          following goals, prioritized in this order:







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          1.Districts must comply with the U.S. Constitution and the  
            federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

          2.Districts must each have equal population with other  
            districts for the same office, to the extent practicable.

          3.Districts must be geographically contiguous to the extent  
            practicable.

          4.District boundaries must respect communities of interest  
            to the extent practicable.

          5.District lines must use visible geographic features, city  
            and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts to the  
            extent practicable.

          6.Districts must be geographically compact to the extent  
            practicable.

          7.To the extent practicable, competitive districts should  
            be favored where to do so would create no significant  
            detriment to the aforementioned goals.

           Background
           
           Other States
           
          According to the National Conference of State Legislatures  
          (NCSL), since the landmark Supreme Court decisions of the  
          1960s that established the one-person, one-vote principle,  
          a number of states have shifted redistricting of state  
          legislative district lines from the Legislature to a board  
          or commission.  There are 12 states that give first and  
          final authority for legislative redistricting to a group  
          other than the Legislature.  Alaska, Idaho and Arizona were  
          the most recent states to join this group, using a  
          commission for the first time in the 2000 round of  
          redistricting. 

          There are pros and cons to removing the redistricting  
          process from the traditional legislative process and the  
          track record of success by commissions is inconsistent in  
          terms of having plans overturned by courts.  Some people  







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          often mistakenly assume commissions will be less partisan  
          than legislatures when conducting redistricting, but  
          whether that actually occurs depends largely on the design  
          of the board or commission.

          Critics of the current redistricting process argue  
          congressional and legislative elections aren't competitive  
          largely due to the process of adopting new districts.   
          Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment in  
          the late 1990s, moving redistricting from the Legislature  
          to the five-member Arizona Independent Redistricting  
          Commission that must have at least one member who is not  
          from the two major political parties and must draw  
          districts using a specific list of criteria, including  
          making the districts competitive if at all possible.  In  
          2004, an Arizona state Superior Court overturned the plans  
          produced by the Arizona Independent Redistricting  
          Commission for failing to meet the competitiveness  
          criteria, in addition to other violations of the state  
          Constitution.

          The commissions vary greatly from state to state in terms  
          of their make-up. Most of them include appointments made by  
          legislative leaders. 

           Recent Redistricting Initiatives
           
          Proposition 119, which failed passage in 1990 by a 36  
          percent to 64 percent vote, would have created a 12-person  
          Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission appointed by  
          a panel of three retired state appellate justices from a  
          list of voters nominated by nonprofit, nonpartisan  
          organizations.  The Commission was to adjust boundaries of  
          California Senate, Assembly, congressional, and Board of  
          Equalization districts by reviewing submitted plans and  
          adopting a plan or amending a plan which complied with  
          specified standards including a one percent population  
          variance and the "nesting" of Senate and Assembly  
          districts.

          Two similar measures failed passage in the early 1980s.   
          Proposition 14, failed passage in 1982 by a 45.5 percent to  
          55.5 percent vote and Proposition 39 failed passage in 1984  
          on a 44.8 percent to 55.2 percent vote.







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          Proposition 118, which also failed passage in 1990 on a 33  
          percent to 67 percent vote, would have enacted new  
          redistricting criteria and provided that all Senate seats  
          stand for election during the same years as opposed to the  
          current staggered schedule.  Proposition 118 did not create  
          a redistricting commission but left that responsibility  
          with the Legislature.

          Proposition 77, another initiative intended to create a  
          redistricting panel, failed passage by a 59.8 percent to  
          40.2 percent vote on the November 8, 2005 Statewide Special  
          Election ballot.  The initiative would have required a  
          three-member panel of retired judges, selected by  
          legislative leaders, to adopt a new redistricting plan for  
          California's Senate, Assembly, congressional and Board of  
          Equalization districts immediately upon passage and again  
          after each federal decennial census.  The panel would have  
          been required to consider legislative and public proposals  
          and comments and hold public hearings.  The redistricting  
          plan would have become effective immediately when adopted  
          by the panel and then automatically submitted to the voters  
          for approval.  If voters subsequently rejected the plan,  
          the process would repeat itself.  The criteria the panel  
          would have followed included the following:

          1.Population equality.

          2."Nesting" of Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization  
            districts.

          3.Respect for city and county borders.

          4.Compactness.

          5.A prohibition on splitting of census blocks except when  
            constitutionally required.

          6.No consideration of potential effects on incumbents or  
            political parties.  No data regarding the residence of an  
            incumbent or other candidate or the party affiliation or  
            voting history of electors may be used in the preparation  
            of plans, except as required by federal law.








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          The proponent of Proposition 77 is sponsoring yet another  
          redistricting commission initiative that is currently  
          eligible for circulation.  This measure would create an  
          11-member commission selected randomly from voter rolls by  
          the Secretary of State.  

           Communities of Interest 
           
          The term "community of interest" is not defined by statute  
          but is generally considered a group of persons united by  
          shared characteristics, interests, values, history,  
          culture, ethnicity, background, economic ties, etc., that  
          may or may not coincide with a specific governmental  
          boundary.  For example, a river may form a boundary between  
          two cities or counties, but the entire river valley may  
          comprise a recognized community of interest. 

           Census Tracts
           
          According to the United States Census Bureau, census tracts  
          are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of  
          a county.  Census tracts usually have between 2,500 and  
          8,000 persons and, when first delineated, are designed to  
          be homogeneous with respect to population characteristics,  
          economic status, and living conditions.  Census tracts do  
          not cross county boundaries.  The spatial size of census  
          tracts varies widely depending on the density of  
          settlement.  Census tract boundaries are delineated with  
          the intention of being maintained over a long time so that  
          statistical comparisons can be made from census to census.   
          However, physical changes in street patterns caused by  
          highway construction, new development, etc., may require  
          occasional revisions; census tracts occasionally are split  
          due to large population growth, or combined as a result of  
          substantial population decline.

           Related legislation
           
          The redistricting provisions of this Constitutional  
          Revision are conceptually similar to ACA 8 (Maze) which is  
          pending referral to Assembly policy committee, ACA 3x  
          (McCarthy) which is pending in the Assembly Committee on  
          District Representation, and ACA 5x (Canciamilla) which is  
          also pending referral to Assembly policy committee.







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           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, this bill  
          requires the Department of Finance, in each year ending in  
          the number nine, to recommend an appropriation adequate to  
          meet the expenses of the commission, and to make office  
          space available for the operation of the commission.  It  
          requires the Legislature to make an appropriation to fund  
          the expenses of the commission, by bill passed by a  
          majority vote.  Although costs for the commission are  
          unknown at this time, this program is being modeled after  
          an Arizona initiative and costs for that commission in 2001  
          were estimated at $6 million.   In addition, costs for the  
          Secretary of State are estimated at $55,000 per page for  
          ballot printing, processing and mailing.  Recent  
          initiatives have been four to six pages long totaling  
          election costs of between $220,000 and $330,000.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/25/06)

          League of Women Voters of California
          American Association of Retired Persons, California
          California Common Cause
          California Metals Coalition

           OPPOSITION :    (Verified  5/25/06)

          National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials
          Los Angeles County Chicano Employees Association (unless  
          amended)

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          "in California, as in many other states in the country, the  
          task of redistricting rests solely in the hands of the  
          state Legislature.  This task is regarded as the most  
          political act undertaken by the state Legislature.   
          Redistricting by the Legislature has resulted in  
          safe-district seats solely based on partisanship.  Safer  
          district seats are either uncontested or won by very large  
          margins, and elections are often determined in primaries.   
          This has led to more legislative and budget gridlock in the  
          state Legislature in past years, and a general feeling that  







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          boundaries have served politicians' needs over the needs of  
          the people of California.  In response to the people of the  
          State of California whom have expressed their desire that  
          the Legislature take steps to enhance government  
          responsiveness, restore trust through transparency, and  
          eliminate barriers to access and participation."

          The League of Women Voters of California state that this  
          bill represents a major step toward instituting our goals  
          of redistricting reform, nonpartisan redistricting by a  
          diverse, independent commission, an open, transparent  
          process for maximum public input and scrutiny, and sound  
          criteria for drawing district lines.  Polls taken shortly  
          after the November election showed that large numbers of  
          Californians support redistricting reform in principle.   
          They state they are firmly committed to putting that  
          principle into practice through the legislative process.   
          They appreciate the willingness to consider the suggestions  
          they and other public interest groups have made for  
          improving the specific provisions of this bill, such as  
          increasing the size of the commission to 11 in order to  
          make it more representative of the diversity of California.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    National Association of Latino  
          Elected Appointed Officials are opposed to the "nesting"  
          requirement included in the principals which would require  
          that each State Senate district be comprised of two  
          contiguous State Assembly districts because they believe  
          that this requirement can lead to the creation of districts  
          that deny Latino and other federally-protected minority  
          voters the opportunity to elect the candidates of their  
          choice, in contravention of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

          The Los Angeles County Chicano Employees Association is in  
          opposition because:  (1) there is no criteria governing the  
          standards that would be used by a proposed panel of 10  
          retired judges of the Court of Appeals to nominate  
          candidates for appointment to the Redistricting Commission.  
           This ill defined selection process could lead to abuses.   
          There must be a detailed selection process.  Experience in  
          redistricting should be accorded considerable weight in the  
          application process, (2) there should be at least four  
                                                        public hearings before the Redistricting Commission  
          presents a map to the public for comment.  The first three  







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          public hearings should be to provide testimony.  The public  
          should be allowed to comment on their problems with the  
          current districts and to provide suggestions on how to  
          better design these districts.  The fourth public hearing  
          should be held over a two day period in Sacramento where  
          individuals, organizations, and elected officials who have  
          created statewide Assembly, Senate or Congressional maps  
          will be allowed to present them and have the Redistricting  
          Commissioners and the public comment on them.  The next  
          hearing of the Redistricting Commission should be where the  
          commissioners present their initial maps for public  
          comment.  Following that hearing of Redistricting  
          Commission, is the last hearing where the Commissioners  
          will present their final map for public comment.  They can  
          at the close of the hearing, either adopts their map or  
          review it again for potential changes, and (3) the State  
          Senate and State Assembly districts should be held to  
          current Federal law in terms of population deviation.  The  
          federal courts have let State Senate and State Assembly  
          districts have a deviation as high as 10 percent unless  
          they contain districts whose shape and size violate federal  
          constitutional standards.  The result of the current  
          proposal on the deviation allowed for State Assembly  
          districts is that many more cities would be required to be  
          split in order to meet the proposed extremely low deviation  
          standard.
           
           
          DLW:nl  5/26/06   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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